You, as the employer, have the right to hire whom you choose in each position. However, state and federal law are making these decisions increasingly complicated when it comes to medical marijuana users. Here in Texas, employers still have the right to not employ a person due to drug use of any kind, including marijuana, and not to continue to employ a person due to drug use. However, based on judicial decisions in other states, that may be changing. How can employers create a workplace policy that increases safety and productivity while reducing liability?
Employers must consider which positions necessitate perfect clarity in operation every time the employee is working—for those positions, a drug-free policy is required and federally supported. Pilots are required to pass flight physicals annually, and their medications are set by the physician and monitored. Positions in which heavy equipment is operated are no less vital, and employers cannot to have their employees impaired. Drivers are subject to DOT regulations, which demand a zero tolerance drug policy.
Court decisions, such as Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Co., LLC, d/b/a Bride Brook Nursing & Rehab. Ctr. will continue to make the news, but no employer has even been accused of discrimination when the decision was made for the safety of their employees and their customers.